When I left Australia I had no real belief left.
The team, selectors, coach, marketers and administracrats were all completely out of form.
Had it not been for one man, I would have given up forever.
That man was Philip Pope.
Unless you are deep inside the cricket bowels, you may not know Philip (known as the popester).
While Cricket Australia say his job is in their media department, he is actually far more than that.
He lubes up Shane Watson for photo shoots, ghost writes Michael Clarke’s tweets, picks out which white shirt James Sutherland will wear, tells Tim Nielsen that Ricky respects him, ties Peter Young’s bow-ties, nods when ricky is yelling, proof reads Michael Hussey’s latest buddy cop thriller and programs the Andrew Hilditch atari brain for each day.
It’s clearly too much for any normal man, but the popester is no ordinary man.
He’s an official with a cape. If they put him out on the ground he would have ground out a plucky, yet ugly 30 odd at the G.
Leaving Australia I felt slightly better knowing the Australian Cricket team was being serviced by him. Australia was hurting, but in the soft and generous hands of the popester, it would heal, grow and come back.
Then Andrew Hilditch said excellent, and all my faith in Philip Pope came crashing down.
According to Cricket Australia, it was Pope who said Nathan Hauritz’s form in India was excellent, proving me right that Hilditch has an atari for a brain, and breaking my heart knowing that the popester had been broken trying to hold up all the other men around him.
You can’t blame him, even a super official needs some help, and when trying to cover up the gaps in Australia’s sieve, he was bound to mess up something along the way. For all his victories he never got an opentop bus or a cooking show on cable TV, but his first mistake, ever, is plastered around the world as a sign of his incompetence.
It hurts me to see one of the greats go down, but I know he’ll come back, because that is what champions do.
According to Peter Young, Hilditch signed off (read; atari brain was programmed) on the comments before a 4am flight from Adelaide to Sydney.
There is no 4am flight from Adelaide to Sydney scheduled by any airline I know of.
So we can only assume the popester, as part of his CA duties, flies a Dash 8 when VIP CA people need it.
Maybe he does, because he is the popester, and even if he stuffed up once, I back him to bring this Australian team back to the glory times.
If anyone can, the popester can.
I’m now visualising the popester getting carried around the ground by Ricky and Clarke, as the crowd go wild for him, only to jump off their shoulders, straighten is CA approved tracksuit, and then get to bed early for some rest before taking Sutherland to Perth on a 3am flight.